At this time of year when the holiday rush or extreme weather could cause business operations to become more hazardous, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) is encouraging private worksites to take advantage of the department’s Occupational Safety and Health On-Site Consultation Program – a free review that identifies potential health hazards and safety issues.
The consultations are provided by the NJDOL’s Division of Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health at the request of employers, who can choose the scope and extent of the review. Site visits can include, but are not limited to, assessments of physical dangers, electrical safety, slip hazards, air quality, and noise.
“Last year, the department completed approximately 400 free consultations, which are an effective way to ensure the health and safety of employees and the workplace,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “With nearly 275,000 private sector worksites in this state, we hope that all New Jersey business owners take the opportunity to utilize this free service so an unsafe work environment never leads to bigger and more costly issues.”
Inspections are performed to federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, but will not result in any citations, penalties, or fines. NJDOL consultants who identify matters of imminent threat or of a serious violation will work with the employer to develop a plan of action to abate the situation in a timely manner.
“Recognizing and fixing problems before they become major complications can help businesses save on extensive improvements as well as cut down on expenditures related to workers’ compensation,” said Mark Wadiak, assistant director of Workplace Standards in the NJDOL’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety. “Safety pays.”
Additionally, the NJDOL can assist businesses interested in any of a multitude of safety training courses, from Electrical Safe Work Practices, Forklift Safety, and Control of Hazardous Energy to Material Handling, Back Safety, and Lifting Techniques.
Worksites that participate in the NJDOL’s consultation program can also qualify for a safety recognition award within the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) or the Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Awards. SHARP-certified worksites are exempt from OSHA general inspections for up to two years.